As much as Alphas tries, the series seems to inevitably fall short of the lofty goals it sets up. "Gods and Monsters" was a particularly good example of why.
There was nothing wrong with the episode, but the storytelling and the pacing could both be better. At times it feels like Alphas is more concerned with the checklist, making sure all bases are covered, as opposed to worrying about making sure those elements fit together.
The machine that Rosen obsessed over was shoved to the wayside. With Nina’s pushing of the senator, the company was shut down and all the machines were being destroyed. Indeed, check the box and move on, right?
We learn a little bit more about Parish that ends up being inconsequential? Check that box!
Having Rosen and Parish together offered a great opportunity to really build something between the two characters, but instead what we’re left with is the two of them branching off in their own directions. In other words, there was no change at all.
While the development that Rosen “downloaded” some of Parish’s memories when Jason relinquished control of his followers was a good way for Rosen to further analyze and get into Parish’s psyche, it felt like it was all for naught in the end. Half of the season is now over and the two sides are still locked in a stalemate - and the sense of danger to the Alphas has all but vanished.
At least with last season there was a constant struggle to keep the government happy and find out about Red Flag. This season the government hasn’t really been breathing down the team’s necks nor has Stanton Parish really been the scary antagonist we’re being led to believe – aside from the guy exploding the train in the premiere and his willingness to let Jason and his mind controlled posse die. He’s been downright docile.
The one element that is truly great is the cast. David Strathairn really works with the material he’s given and is able to bring life to a character than can otherwise be flat. He’s able to deftly manage Rosen bending the rules for the greater good while trying to follow a strict form of ethics, but he’s also heavily weighted down from trying to keep his team and innocent Alphas safe.
Rachel and Nina’s friendship is beginning to blossom once again, and their conversation at the end was enjoyable to watch, while the mystery surrounding Nina and what exactly her power is doing to her and others is fascinating; as is Cameron’s “I’m-not-quite-over-you” looks he shoots in Nina’s general direction sometimes.
Plus, the theme song is always enjoyable.